June 5, 2011
We caught the early morning hydrofoil for the one hour "flight" to the city of Athens. Covering the same distance would take Freebird seven hours. Cheating! Yep, and we're proud of it. Let somebody else do the driving.
After some confusion we found the train to the city center. Twenty minutes later we emerged into the sunlit Monastraki Square. Towering above us looms the Parthenon. At our feet are time worn cobblestones leading in every direction to a menagerie of narrow alleyways. You think we might be hopelessly lost....Well, we are. Our hotel is somewhere out there. Not to worry, we have our trusty gps navigator. Oops....Battery dead... hmm, TAXI! After about a half hour our taxi drops us a block away from the hotel and about a block away from where he picked us up. There are lots of one way streets and it can take a long time to go one block. It's costly when you have "Dumb Tourist" written on your forehead.
Our hotel is one of many three star "boutique" hotels in the "Plaka
" (heart of the old city). There is a little ledge that they call a balcony. If you stand there and stretch far out over the alley below you can see the Parthenon... It's a "view" room. Only the finest for the Birdies.
We hit the streets to explore our new surroundings. Most of the Plaka is pedestrian friendly. It's a hot 90 degrees F. So we are trudging along in search of various ancient wonderments. Yep, there they are in real life... just like in the National Geographic. Finally, we plop down for a cold ice coffee and orange juice. Lunch is a donar wrap. This has become our mainstay for food when we are on the "run" (trudge) Pork or chicken is rotating on a vertical spit. The cook then slices crispy, tasty chunks off and wraps them in a flat (tortilla) bread with onion, tomato, and tzatziki sauce. Fast, easy, inexpensive and real. Our kind of food.... Okay, Dave's favorite. Judy comes along cheerfully. She's such a good sport. Oh yeh, a cold beer is required to wash it down.... for Dave.
By late afternoon we are out of gas so we return to our luxury suit for a little nap. Judy wants to take Dave out for his birthday and has made a reservation at a fancy restaurant. We are again on the streets in the early evening. We find a Taxi and say "take us to this restaurant". He warns us: "The streets are full of protesters demonstrating, It's dangerous to go there. maybe impossible!" "Wow!" we say. "Sure glad you're here to guide and protect us, What do you recommend?".....Twenty euro later we arrive at his cousin's fish restaurant. Wow! How lucky! We have one of the most expensive shitty meals we have ever had. "Louie" calls his cousin to come and return us to our hotel for 20 more euros. As we are walking back to our hotel I glance at my reflection in a storefront window... Yep, there it is, flashing neon red, "DUMB TOURIST" right on my forehead.....hmm. Happy Birthday!
Judy wouldn't consider a visit to a city complete without a trip to the dentist. Athens is such a special place.....Why not a root canal? She has been struggling with this molar now since Turkey. I can't tell you how many dentists we have seen in an effort to fix this aching tooth. So, the tooth saga continues. Off we go to Dr. Feelgood for another try. This guy is supposed to be a top gun. He roots out that bad tooth and we're done once and for all. Right? Wrong! He only does the rooting thing he doesn't do any crowns or fillings etc. Judy will have to see yet another dentist or six to complete the project. To be continued.....
I won't bore you with all the sight seeing stuff. I'll just say that it is quite impressive. The Greeks have done a great job making everything accessible. The photos will do the talking.
On our last night we meandered out for the evening and found ourselves at a very romantic outdoor restaurant at the base of the Parthanon
. We ordered some delicious food and wine. The full moon was rising over the ancient ruins towering above. Magical......